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Thursday, September 6, 2012
Chrono Cross - My Story
Purchase date: 2008 (exact date unknown)
Price: $10 (estimated)
Chrono Cross presents an odd anomalous gap in my memory. With most games I've played I am able to remember very clearly the experiences that were occurring during my life while playing them as well as oddly specific details about playing the game itself, such as which television in which room in the house I had hooked up my game system and spent the most time playing said game. Chrono Cross, on the other hand seems to have blanked out a lot of my player experience. Now, this isn't for lack of memorability, as anyone who's played the game can tell you. I know this because I remember the game itself vividly. Perhaps it is just that total immersion that sucked me in, or perhaps I was just too busy trying to figure out what the hell was going on in this game (seriously, I got a little lost about the time that I became a cat person that used to be my mortal enemy... and this seemed semi permanent). In the end the details lost (or at least, disassociated) are insignificant, but it sticks out as odd to me, so I figured I'd ponder it a bit just the same (Achievement Unlocked: Pondering).
What I do remember however is that this game came to me as another in the long line of 'borrowed' games (at that time, most of the AAA games I got to play were borrowed, my personal library consisting of obscure titles out of the bargain bin, which I also played the absolute shit out of). The lender in this particular case was the elder cousin of my best friend. He always had the best games, and he always finished them within days of their release, no matter how long the play time. This was due to the fact that he was significantly older than us and on a partial work disability due to a physical malady. This meant that his life consisted of (and still does,) video games.
Now as a quick sidebar, I know there are a good many people who would frown upon such an existence, and I totally admit that it is not one that I could readily embrace myself, however its not exactly one I look down upon either. In this life who is to say what achievements are more worth while, or that relationships built and maintained via interpersonal communication are any more real than those built over XBL or WoW. It all ends the same for every one of us anyways, so to each their own (that sentiment is kinda a double edged sword isn't it?).
Sidebar... aside... (sure, that works) my friend's cousin was an outright cool dude. He introduced us to pretty much everything awesome (video game and horror movie wise) way before we were supposed to be introduced to it (to this day I still can't convince my friend to watch Fire in the Sky ever again). Thus I had obtained a copy of Chrono Cross. Now, I had of course been familiar with the predecessor, and was filled with excitement to play this game, and play it I did. Everything about this game felt like a breath of fresh air at the time, from the beginning moments in a small beach side community, to the ever expanding cast of characters and the unique twists the plot threw you. I remember treating the obtainable characters like Pokémon, I absolutely had to get them all. Of course, this being before I knew of gamefaqs or even had a reliable internet connection, so I was only able to assemble my ultimate party based off of rumors and conjecture.
Truth be told, I never actually finished the game on that first play through. I think this was in part due to the fact that at the time my mother had recently re-married, had another child and my family was moving to a new house so there was a lot of chaos in the mix. That was combined with the fact that I had hit the wall of this game. I use that term to explain what inevitably happens in any video game I play, but most prominently with RPGs, where I find myself with a seemingly insurmountable task to overcome. A boss battle, a puzzle, an ill advised save with little to no health and no backup (back then each memory card held about 10 saves, so multiple saves were some sort of mythical beast, I'd heard of them, but never experienced it myself)... the catalyst changes, but the feeling is the same. The feeling that raises the question as to whether or not the fun I am having with the game is worth the effort I need to put in at this very point. More often than not, the answer is yes, but in this instance, and through no fault of the game itself, I had cast it aside and returned the disks.
Apparently this left a void somewhere in me because many years later, sometime in 2008, I became nostalgic and decided to see if I could find some of the games I'd always wanted to own and never did. Chrono Cross was at the top of my list. I promptly purchased a sealed "Greatest Hits" copy of the game via e-bay and played the hell out of it. I remember a feeling of dread creeping upon me as I reached my previously hit wall (I remember it well, a point on the pirate ship where you have to rig a game against the captain... I couldn't figure it out for the life of me) and I remember being almost angry at how easy it was to figure out now in my later years. That was a big feeling for me, being able to easily accomplish a task that had daunted me in my youth, and it probably added a good amount of vigor to my desire to begin my current task at hand.